How to get from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to Al Ain

The Oasis City of Al Ain is the UAE’s historic centre and an easy day trip of weekender from the big cities of Dubai and Abu Dubai.

Dubai to Al Ain desert road in the UAE

You can read more about all the fabulous fun family activities on offer in Al Ain and the historic sites and drives over on this page

Driving to Al Ain from Dubai or Abu Dhabi

Al Ain sits 160km south of Dubai and 160km south east of Abu Dhabi on the Oman Border (hence why many people use Al Ain as a day trip when doing Visa border runs!).

Private vehicle to Al Ain

The easiest way to get to Al Ain is in a private motor vehicle.

If you are not a confident driver, or unfamiliar with driving on the right side of the road – get a driver and guide. The freeways are FAST (up to 160km/hr speed limit on the Abu Dhabi/Al Ain Hwy) and although a quite straightforward drive, not something we would recommend to newcomers to the country unless you have a lot of driving experience. 

Residents – if you can handle the 8-lane Sheikh Zayed Freeway at 8am, you will be OK!!

Do note, despite the high speeds on the highway, the Al Ain roads are also very susceptible to FOG which can add to the danger level for unsuspecting drivers – you can read more about UAE weather conditions here.

A taxi to Al Ain, depending on where you set off from cost under 300AED from either Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

The journey from Abu Dhabi takes a little over one hour if you drive at the maximum speed limit. From Dubai to Al Ain it it takes more like 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Tour Guide and Driver

There are surprisingly few tour operators offering services to Al Ain despite its rich history and unique geographic features, but you can try these options with reputable tour intermediary Get Your Guide:  

Bus from Dubai to Al Ain

Please note due to COVID restrictions in the Abu Dhabi Emirate this service is not currently operating

Route (E201) departs from Al Ghubaiba bus station in Deira, Dubai every 30 minutes. The bus also passes:

  • Al Jafiliya Metro Station – north
  • Wasl
  • Wasl Club 1
  • Emirates NBD – Nad Al Sheba
  • Marmoom Dairy Farm 1
  • Al Faqa station 1
  • UAE University Mohammed bin Khalifa Street 1
  • City Petrol Station 1, and
  • Sheikha Salama Mosque 1
  • Terminates at Al Ain Central Bus Station.

The bus costs 25AED one-way.

Bus from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain

If you are coming from Abu Dhabi, the X90 from Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station to Al Ain Central Bus Station runs every 45 minutes – you can find the Department of Transport intercity bus timetable here.

Once you are in Al Ain, the main attractions are quite spread out. You are walking distance to the Al Ain Oasis and the Al Ain Palace Museum, but for other attractions, you will still need a taxi once you arrive in Al Ain.

Al Ain Airport

Al Ain does have an international airport (AAN), albeit small only servicing three airlines to India, Pakistan & Egypt. You cannot fly from Abu Dhabi or Dubai to Al Ain.

You can get a taxi to/from the airport to town, 18kms away.

Staying in Al Ain

It is manageable to see many of Al Ain’s highlights in a day, but we recommend staying for at least a 2-day weekend, largely because many of the highlights you want to see open late in the day.

Our top recommended family accommodation is:

Staying for a whole weekend we recommend you try one of these family-friendly resort winners!

Further Reading on the UAE

Before you go, check out these guides to family fun and visitor information for the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai to Al Ain UAE
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